The huge Adelaide Festival of Arts (adelaidefestival.com.au), which takes over the city for three weeks from late February to mid-March in even-numbered years, attracts an extraordinary range of international and Australian theatre companies, performers, musicians, writers and artists. The festival began in 1960 and has been based at the purpose-built Festival Centre since 1973. In addition, free outdoor concerts, opera and films are held outside the Festival Centre and at various other locations during the period, while other venues around town host an Artists’ Week, Writers’ Week and a small film festival.
The edgier Fringe Festival (adelaidefringe.com.au) grew up around the main Adelaide festival to become the country’s largest arts event and, for many, the highlight of the festival calendar. Now a stand-alone annual event, it begins with a wild street parade on Rundle Street followed by over three weeks of free outdoor shows and activities, bands, cabaret and comedy at venues all over town, while full use is made of the 24-hour licensing laws.
The Womadelaide (womadelaide.com.au) world-music weekend began in 1992 as part of the Arts Festival but has now developed its own separate identity, attracting tens of thousands of people annually. Held in early March in the Botanic Park – with seven stages, workshop areas, multicultural food stalls and visual arts – it’s a great place to hear some of Australia’s local talent, as well as internationally acclaimed world-music artists from around the globe.